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French Bread

French Bread

It's that time of month again; it's Daring Bakers time. This months recipe is French Bread, Julia Child style. Making my own French bread has been on my todo list for a while and this was a great time to do it.

One of the reasons that I joined the Daring Bakers was to challenge myself. Many Daring Bakers recipes are challenging in that they include several different components. This recipe may look simple when looking at the ingredient list but the instructions make up for it. Making French bread takes a bit of effort and time. A lot of time in fact. It includes letting the dough rise three times and letting the bread cool each of which takes 2-3 hours for a total of 8-12 hours. This is definitely something that you want to do on the weekend.

Making the bread, although time consuming was not too difficult. When I read the instructions the first time I somehow missed the third rising. By the time I finished the bread it was pretty late at night. I decided to form my bread into the classic baguette shape. The only problem that I had with the recipe was the folding stage. I could not figure out what I was supposed to be doing. Some pictures would have been helpful. I did some folding and forming and it seemed to turn out ok so it was not a problem.

When I pulled the bread out of the oven something seemed wrong. The bread seemed to be rock hard. I thought that I might have done something wrong and that I might have just wasted an entire days worth of effort. Instead of waiting for the bread to cool for the recommended 2-3 hours I immediately cracked open a loaf. The inside was so light, fluffy and just perfect. It was almost cloud like. Now that I had cracked open a loaf and seen the inside there was no way that I could not try just a piece right away. I cut off a slice and spread on some butter which started melting into the still warm bread. Despite the fact that the crust seemed a bit hard to the touch, it seemed perfectly crusty to the mouth and teeth. The bread was so good! The just one slice quickly turned into just one loaf! I really, really enjoy freshly baked bread with melting butter.

French Bread

Overall the French bread was a lot of work and took a lot of time but it was worth it. It was some of the best bread that I have ever made or even had. I will be making this again but given that it takes a whole day I am not sure how often that will be.

Ingredients:
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1/3 cup warm water
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 cups tepid water

Directions:
1. Mix the yeast and warm water and let sit for a few minutes.
2. Mix everything in the bowl to form a dough that should be soft and sticky.
3. Place the dough onto the kneading surface and let sit for a few minutes.
4. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes adding a bit of flour if it is too sticky. The dough should be elastic and retract into shape when you push it out. The dough should also be cleaning itself off the working surface but still be sticky to your hands.
5. Let the dough rest for a few minutes.
6. Knead for a minute. The dough should look smooth, be less sticky and remain soft.
7. Let the dough rise to triple its volume over the next 3-5 hours in a lightly greased covered bowl.
8. Pour the dough onto a lightly floured surface and flatten it with your lightly floured hands.
9. Fold the dough in half and in half again and place it back in the bowl.
10. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise to triple its volume, about 3 hours.
11. Pour the dough onto a lightly floured surface and and cut it into the shapes that you want. If you want one big round loaf leave it alone. If you want 3 baguette shaped loaves then cut it into three long pieces. Etc.
12. Fold the dough in half, cover and let rest for 5 minutes.
13. Dust a tea towel with flour so that the formed dough can rise on it without sticking to it.
14. Form the dough into an 8-10 inch oval on a lightly floured surface with your lightly floured hands.
15. Fold the dough in half lengthwise and seal the fold.
16. Roll the dough 1/4 turn so that the fold it on top.
17. Flatten the dough into an oval again and press a trench along the fold with the side of your hand.
18. Fold the dough in half lengthwise and seal the edges.
19. Roll the dough 1/4 turn so that the seal is on the bottom.
20. Roll the dough back and forth and stretch it to form a long cylinder.
21. Place the formed dough on the floured tea towel and form the remaining two loaves.
22. Cover the loaves and let rise until they have tripled in volume.
23. Carefully lift the loaves off of the tea towel and place them on a baking sheet.
24. Using a sharp knife slash the tops of the loaves 3 times.
25. Bake in a preheated 450F oven for 25 minute. The crust should be golden brown and crisp. It should sound hollow when knocked.
26. Let the bread cool for 2-3 hours.

Similar Recipes:
Beer Bread
Tsoureki (Greek Easter Bread)

Take a look at the other Daring Bakers creations.

62 comments:

Dhanggit said...

beautiful french bread kevin!! great job!!

Anonymous said...

nice effort.

L Vanel said...

That is some beautiful looking bread, Kevin! I also found myself summarizing the recipe and will use my own notes the next time I do this bread. It looks delicious!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Wow - they look tremendous. Great, even texture. Congratulations!

Greg said...

The nice thing about bread is that it is so forgiving. It doesn't really matter if you don't fold it perfectly. Nice job.

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) said...

A good cuppa coffee and this bread for breakfast - it doesn't get any better than this.

Elle said...

I can almost smell the bread baking. That looks mouth-wateringly good!

Gloria said...

Kevin your bread is really beauty.looks delicious, I admire you!!!Gloria

chriesi said...

Looks beautiful¨!

Btw I tagged you by a meme, i hope you dun mind.
http://almondcorner.blogspot.com/2008/02/tagged.html

Manggy said...

Very professional, Kevin :) Rub some garlic on mine, please :)

Pixie said...

Your bread looks great and thanks for the shortened version of the recipe!

Laura said...

Looks fantastic! I'm having major bread cravings now!

Beth G. said...

It looks awesome, and I found it was a pretty forgiving recipe too! You did a beautiful job!!

javagirlkt's cookin' said...

nice job! the bread and melted butter looks soooooo good right now.

marye said...

kevin- you did na awesome job..it is beautiful.

Mary said...

You crack me up about how 1 slice turned into a loaf! I don't think I gave my husband more than a slice. Your bread looks delicious!

cakewardrobe said...

This looks lovely! I love when careful "mistakes" turn into something spectacular, and more than you expected! Unfortunately, that sort of luck doesn't seem to be on my side :(

Helene said...

Beautiful! What a great creation. It looks like you put all of your love in that loaf.

Namratha said...

Wow, they look all nicely puffed up and yummy...mine didn't puff up as much.

Jenny said...

Great looking French Bread Kevin! Nice and rustic. It is a long process.

Jen Yu said...

Kevin, love - you're a machine. I don't think a day goes by that you don't post something delicious and amazing on your blog. You so rock.

Lisa said...

Man, I wish I could have been at your house when this lovely loaf came out of the oven. I can just imagine the smell of your kitchen.

Deborah said...

Wonderful job! It does look perfect with the melting butter.

Jaime said...

your french bread turned out beautifully! great job!

Patsyk said...

That looks awesome! I am looking forward to my first baking challenge in March!

Vicarious Foodie said...

Oh my gosh I LOVE French bread! It is by far my favorite and I could eat a loaf myself, warm out of the oven with butter and a glass of wine. . . Mmmm!

Nora B. said...

Hey Kevin,
Your bread looks good! I love fresh warm bread with butter too. I'm glad that all theat effort was worth it.

Cynthia said...

Kevin, I am fiercely proud of your achievement! Fantatic bread you made here.

Dani Spies said...

You never fail to amaze me!

Maryann said...

Another challenge well done :)

culinography said...

Your bread looks beautiful, Kevin! Great job!!

Brilynn said...

Well done, your bread looks great!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Kevin, You did another fantastic job! I'm so impressed!

Lis said...

Kevin - as per usual you've done an amazing job with your challenge - your bread looks picture perfect! :)

xoxo

Gigi said...

Kevin, you're cooking-baking machine! And you never fail at producing gorgeous results. Fabulous bread!

Dayna said...

that's some fantastic looking bread you have there. it was a great challenge. funny how 4 ingredients can fit so nicely on to 9 pages of instruction.

Emiline said...

What a challenge! I admire you for this.
I wish DB recipes were more of an everyday thing.

Cakespy said...

Great job! The bread with butter melting looks absolutely fantastic.

myriam said...

that bread looks perfect! good job!

Breadchick said...

Your bread looks like a bakery's creation.

Thanks for baking with Sara and I

Tarah said...

Beautiful! Just beautiful! And I too almost missed that rest... But lucky I re-read the recipe.

Which, I decided to summarize! The recipe at first look frightening and scary because how long it is; Plus, it has a lot of information. So, in the end, I summarized it for future reference.

And again, you bread just look absolutely beautiful!

giz said...

Kudos Kevin - baking bread seems like a total adventure. I love the picture too - I visualized eyes and a mouth and it could be a sea serpent :)

noble pig said...

Oh Kevin. this looks wonderful. I've been wanting to French Bread for a long time. Thanks for the inspriation.

Bellini Valli said...

I couldn't wait to have the bread either Kevin. That's why I made baguettes...one for eating straight from the oven slathered in butter and the other to sit for the recommended amount of time :D We are the rebels of the baking world you and I :D

cakebrain said...

hey,
that bread looks so delicious with all that butter on it! making bread is such a time-consuming and noble thing...i admire you "daring bakers" for putting in the time to participate in these challenges!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Beautiful bread, Kevin! You did a great job!

Zen Chef said...

It looks great!
Have you ever tried to make a no-knead bread recipe?
It's really good and really easy. I wrote a post about it a while back.

Hannah said...

Nice job on the challenge, your bread looks great!

Big Boys Oven said...

such a lovely loaaf of bread you had there! Amazing!

Chez Denise et Laudalino said...

Something went wrong? These look great! Good jo!

Sara said...

wow, that last picture......

Cooking and the City said...

Kevin your bread looks delicious, I love the pic with the melting butter. great job :-)

Peabody said...

It was some really good bread, wasn't it!
Great job on your bread.

ostwestwind said...

Wee, that looks delicious! I have to admit that the taste of my breads could have been more flavourful.

Ulrike from K├╝chenlatein

Jenny said...

Nothing better than hot french bread with melting butter. Nothing! Great job on this challenge!

Neen said...

A suggestion: Try Richart Bertinet's Cookbook "Dough." He's a French cook who lives in England and has a great way of teaching people relatively strait forward recipes for French Breads. After all, a real French bakery, unlike Julia Child, can't take 9 hours to produce a few baguettes. Check him out -- I've had great luck and managed to produce baguettes with 2 risings of an hour each -- totally do-able without taking up your whole day!

sher said...

Oh, that picture with the melted butter is killing me!! Marvelous looking bread!

Astra Libris said...

Oooooh, your bread looks amazing! Your baguette shape looks absolutely perfect! Mmmmm, such a gorgeous row of slices with melted butter...

maybahay said...

beautiful. this looks like something out of an artisanal bakery.

Flanboyant Eats said...

Beautiful! I love your recipe and the final look of it... It's the closest thing to Cuban bread when I can't find it. I just got my first Kitchen Aid mixer and I'm sooo excited and can't wait to my make my own bread.

Hope you'll be using a pressure cooker! :)

B-

Claudia said...

Hi. I just looked at the French Bread. Oh my. I have been making it for almost 30 years. Although I do let it rise all day (just punching down once if I remember) I don't knead it at all! And it comes out crusty on the outside and soft (or sometimes chewy depending on season) inside. We spend our winters on a sailboat where I do not have an oven so I 'bake' it on the grill (with help from a little gizmo my hubby made). Again, it turns out great! Also, believe it or not the classic Fanny Farmer has a good recipe too. Try it!

donkey and the carrot said...

It looks amazing!!! I bet it is delicious! I will try it soon!
Thanks for sharing!
Take care, Foivi!

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